I have a small colony that I'm worried about going into winter. The queen is good, she didn't have enough bees to make places for her to lay. Realizing her plight, I equalized yesterday but don't think the colony will be prepared for winter. So, what if I stack her colony on top of a strong colony with a excluder separating them so the top group will benefit from warmth rising from the lower group?
Has anyone tried this?
If I were going to something like this I would use a Double screen board. This keeps the colonies seperate and the screen lets the heat from the bottom colony rise to the top one. There is also a entrances for the top colony.
I would NOT use the excluder. The bees will make one cluster and abandon one of the queens, then as winter progresses it's possible they will work up through the excluder and abandone the other queen. What you want is the double screen board or something like it. Someone on here has suggested that the full double screen board let's too much heat out and they may be right. I think I'm going to build one with a smaller hole or buy one from Betterbee that has a smaller opening. A 4" to 6" square should be plenty of heat going up for the weak one.
I have done this on a double screen board. It's hard to say how well it succeded because the varroa mites did both hives in.
Thanks everyone for the information. Can someone give me a link to the item you've mentioned? Micheal, I don't want to risk them so could you explain to me what it is you're going to make, more simply so I can understand.
I know what an inner cover and an outer cover is, so do I use an inner cover and cut the opening larger? Do I put in the double screen board as well? Or do I put screen on the opening of the inner cover that has had the opening cut larger?
I know I'm being a pest........;(
>Can someone give me a link to the item you've mentioned?
Here are plans for a double screen board. Just leave smaller holes or one small one in the middle. http://www.beesource.com/plans/scrnbrd.pdf
Here is the double screen board on Betterbee: http://www.betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=302
Here is Brushy Mt. Search on Product Code 694. http://www.beeequipment.com/search.asp
>Micheal, I don't want to risk them so could you explain to me what it is you're going to make, more simply so I can understand.
The above links have plans and pictures and descriptions of what they are. How you use is is you put the double screen on top of the strong hive and open the toggle on the top half of the double screen for the entrance to the weak hive. Then you add the boxes of the weak hive on top of the double screen board and then you put the cover on top of that. I think if I were building the double screen board, I would make a smaller opening. If I were buying one, I would get the one from Betterbee which has a smaller opening. If you are building it you could simplify it a bit if you want. Since you don't need all the different toggles and entrances you could just take a peice of plywood 19 7/8" x 16 1/4" and cut a 4" square out of the middle Put #8 hardware cloth on both sides with a stapler (the kind they use for ceiling tile etc.) then cut 3/4" wide strips from a one by (3/4" x 3/4") and nail it around the perimeter of the plywood and leave an opening for the weak hive in the front. A couple of inches should do.
>I know what an inner cover and an outer cover is, so do I use an inner cover and cut the opening larger?
You could use the inner cover if it has a notch in it for an upper entrance. You could just put #8 hardware cloth on both sides of the slot and put it with the notch on top and then put the weak hive on top of that. That leaves them an opening and a lot of heat will make it through the slot.
>Do I put in the double screen board as well?
One of the other, not both.
>Or do I put screen on the opening of the inner cover that has had the opening cut larger?
You could cut it larger. It might be large enough to make a difference already. I tend to put more holes in them anyway so I use a hole saw to put a hole the size of a mason jar lid so I can use a boardman type arrangment for feeding. I put hardware cloth on the bottom to do this, but you could drill a hole, or cut the hole larger and screen both sides of it. The purpose of the double screen is so the bees can't sting each other throuth the screen. Especially the queens.
>I know I'm being a pest........;(
I don't believe you've ever been anything less than an inquisitive, delightful person.
When thinking of you, pest is not a word that comes to mind.